Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Far out: A new voice in political jazz — Thelonious Trump


Thelonious Trump: Not known for pulling punches as he gigs his way to power.
The sense that Donald J. Trump occupies a parallel universe as he moves into the center of the power arena suggested to me that, if he were an eccentric jazz musician instead of an eccentric politician, he might be a kind of weird analogue to the sainted genius Thelonious Monk (1917-1982).
Thelonious Monk: Sheds light posthumously on president-elect.

So I offer this set list from the forthcoming debut in the nation's capital of Thelonious Trump, helpfully annotated for the uninitiated, with the corresponding Thelonious Monk compositions in brackets.

"Blue Trump" [Blue Monk] — a celebration of the artist's decisive ability to turn crucial blue-trending states in his favor.

"Bright Pennsylvania" [Bright Mississippi] — a jaunty tribute to one of those battleground-state victories, tipping the Electoral College toward him.

"Hack 'n' Sack" [Hackensack] — a tune delving into the strategy of taking advantage of what Russian hackers accomplished on his behalf, enabling the surprise sacking of the Democrats' star quarterback, Hillary Clinton.

"Let's Fool One" [Let's Cool One] — a song of triumph, the "one" being the USA collectively, particularly the pundits and pollsters who never thought Thelonious Trump could come out on top.

"PanDONica" [Pannonica] — hymning narcissism, and the pleasures of filtering all reality through one's own eminence and obvious superiority

"Evidence?" [Evidence] — the question mark is enough of a variation of the Monk title to signal the nation's emergence into a fact-free post-election paradise.

"Error Knell" [Eronel] — a mock-dirge for the reign of fact and the habit of acknowledging mistakes — both obstacles, now neutralized, to the advance of Thelonious Trump.

"Hell You Needn't" [Well You Needn't] — this aggressive uptempo tune stresses the importance of not forgiving people who haven't been nice to you, unless you can "play" them, as in the case of....

"Mittsterioso" [Misterioso] — a meditation on the protracted is-he-in?, is-he-out? status of  Mitt Romney as secretary of state nominee.

"Rudy, My Dear" [Ruby, My Dear] — a cheeky, deadpan-humorous piece addressed to Mayor Giuliani, preparing him for a letdown in his search for a job in the new administration.

"Bum's-Rush Swing" [Bemsha Swing] — a high-spirited number airily dismissing the swarm of criticism that has dogged the artist for years, one of which involves the rancid sexism of...

"Ugly Booty" [Ugly Beauty] — a musical waving off of outrage at Thelonious Trump's rejection of some sexual-assault charges on the grounds that the complaining women were unattractive, and thus not worthy of his attention.

"Epistrophywife" [Epistrophy] — a tender ballad in praise of  third wife Melania, the kind of woman who (for now) has the artist's loyalty and commitment.

"Straight, No Recount" [Straight, No Chaser] — Thelonious Trump's slam-dunk argument that, despite his earlier assertions that the election system is rigged, it's now disgusting that anyone should pursue recounts for any reason.

"'Round Midnight (Hillary Concedes)" ['Round Midnight"] — a self-satisfied ballad recalling the time of day that his much-derided opponent threw in the towel in the early hours of Nov. 9.